Acropolis of Baalbek Lebanon about 1892

ACROPOLIS OF BAALBEK, SYRIA — The ruins of Baalbek are among the most imposing in the world. The splendid temple of the Sun-God rose in magnificence at the extremity of a mountain-bordered valley rarely surpassed for beauty even in Syria. Around it once was a triumphant capital, glittering with palaces and temples and girded with luxuriant gardens. But with that strange fatality which attends all Oriental cities, it has gone down in hopeless ruin, like Tyre, Sidon, Babylon and Ephesus. Six solitary columns sixty feet in height, form the principal remains of what was once the most remarkable of Eastern shrines, built probably by the Roman Emperor, Antoninus Pius. Persians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens and Tartars have despoiled the city and its temples, till now these few remaining columns seem like the strings of a broken harp, looking mournfully down upon this plain, so eloquent in its pathetic silence. The yellowish stone of which they are composed makes them particularly beautiful in the sunset light. Around them lie many similar monolithic shafts. Near by is a smaller and better preserved temple, called the Temple of the Sun. What a pitiful comment is it on human nature that modern Turks and Arabs have destroyed much of the exquisite sculpture of these buildings, and have caused the overthrow of many of their columns by removing the iron bands which, though concealed from view, had for centuries protected them! Nevertheless, enough remains of Baalbek to well reward the traveler for a visit (usually made on returning from Damascus), and its graceful and imposing ruins will linger evermore within his memory. (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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